May 4, 2022

The Park Center for Independent Media circulates the Indy Brief. Subscribe for a weekly selection of news stories from journalists operating outside traditional corporate systems.


The Headlines

Izzy Award Ceremony

Journalists Speak on Collaboration and Democracy at 2022 Izzy Award

Izzy Award 2022 Recording

The Edge

FLEFF Retrospective: Streaming and Small Media

An Earth Day Communiqué: The 9/11 Climate Banner

Climate Crisis

“Living in Hell” as Heatwaves Cook India and Pakistan (Mother Jones)


PayPal’s Indy Media Wipeout (Matt Taibbi)

Izzy Award Ceremony

Journalists Speak on Collaboration and Democracy at 2022 Izzy Award

On April 26, 2022, the Park Center for Independent Media hosted the 14th annual Izzy Award ceremony.  The award winners gave poignant remarks on the necessity of independent journalism and the immeasurable benefits of cooperation between reporters. 

You can watch the full ceremony here

Dean Starkman, senior editor of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, explained, “We’ve been witnessing this massive collapse of journalistic infrastructure … It’s important for all of us to support each other, to work together, and to collaborate. For the good of journalism and for the good of democracy.”

Kelly Bauer of Block Club Chicago and David Jackson of Better Government association agreed. Bauer, who has implemented skills gained from Jackson during their time investigating Chicago’s Loretto Hospital together, said, “I always encourage folks to think about the mentoring they got and try to pass that on to younger people.”

Speaking about his reporting on lead paint in New York City public housing, Greg B. Smith from THE CITY said, “If I continued to stay in mainstream media — what I call hedge-fund media — I would have never been able to write that story. The nonprofit entity that I now work for is a phenomenal platform to get this news out there.”

Jenni Monet said of her reader-supported newsletter “Indigenously: Decolonizing Your Newsfeed” that “This is meant to be a brave portal to challenge questions and events that you’re just not seeing.”

Read more from the evening here.

The Edge

FLEFF Retrospective: Streaming and Small Media

During the first week of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, PCIM and Mdocs Cocreation Initiative co-hosted an interactive online discussion on streaming TV, independent media, and the Russia-Ukraine war.

Together with Bay Area-based director, writer, and producer Helen De Michel and documentary maker and professor Liz Miller, attendees wondered at the place of small media among corporate giants. Some considered the value of social media as an alternative to mainstream media and a platform for on-the-ground citizen journalists reporting from Ukraine.

Read more from the discussion on The Edge.

An Earth Day Communiqué: The 9/11 Climate Banner

John W. Amidon, antiwar climate activist and author, circulated a message last month regarding a controversial banner he created and brought to a March 8 climate justice rally in Albany, New York. 

Amidon explains, “At about 12:10 p.m., I unfurled my banner in front of the crowd. On the banner, a jet plane, labeled ‘Climate Change,’ sped toward two skyscrapers in a city, clearly a reference to the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. In large type across the bottom of the banner was written, ‘Wake Up America. 2050 Is Too Late!’”

The banner made an impression in media coverage, but “focused on two state senators and the alleged insensitivity of the banner.” Amidon’s report addresses this coverage and argues that this 9/11 metaphor is apt in describing the horrors unchecked climate change threatens “to New York and all of humanity.”

“Given our current inaction and the unwillingness of our government to address the crisis in a timely way, my banner is a warning of not only things to come, but a recognition of tragedies already upon us.”

Read Amidon’s full commentary here.

Climate Crisis

“Living in Hell” as Heatwaves Cook India and Pakistan

During recent weeks, a heatwave reaching 122 degrees Fahrenheit has swept India and Pakistan, forcing locals out of work and creating critical shortages of water and power that prevent air conditioners and refrigerators from functioning.

The reality of global warming is being felt by more than 1.5 billion people as scorching summer temperatures have arrived two months early, reports Mother Jones. The heatwave has devastated crops, including wheat and vegetables.

Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s minister for climate, said the country was facing an “existential crisis,” and warned that the heatwave is melting glaciers to the north of the country faster than ever. This means thousands are at risk of being caught in flood bursts, even as the heatwave has dried up water reservoirs.

The World Meteorological Organization said in a statement that the temperatures in India and Pakistan are “consistent with what we expect in a changing climate.” Rehman said such climate and weather events “are here to stay and will in fact only accelerate in their scale and intensity if global leaders don’t act now.”


PayPal’s Indy Media Wipeout

The online payment platform PayPal has over the past week suspended the accounts of several individual journalists and news outlets, including Consortium and MintPress. Each received a message from PayPal describing “activity in your account that’s inconsistent with our Use Agreement” and the company holding funds for up to 180 days.

When Consortium editor Joe Lauria reached PayPal, a representative told him the company might decide after review to keep the $9,348.14 remaining in Consortium’s account as “damages.” Content from the outlet, which has been critical of NATO and the Pentagon and explores disinformation from the intelligence community, has been disrupted by Facebook before.

But, as Matt Taibbi writes, “Going after cash is a big jump from simply deleting speech, with a much bigger chilling effect.”

Taibbi notes that, if MintPress’s recent reporting on TikTok hiring from NATO qualifies as “false, inaccurate, or misleading information,” as PayPal may be claiming, “while CNN, MSNBC, and Fox’s daily rollout of ex-military analysts with undisclosed lobbying ties is upheld as the unobjectionable truth, it’s more or less finita la commedia for independent media.”

In Other News

1. Biden vows action to protect abortion rights as John Roberts confirms leaked opinion (The Independent)

2. Alito’s Plan to Repeal the 20th Century (The Atlantic)

3. ‘I Am Terrified For Us’: Abortion Providers And Patients Prepare For A Post-Roe World (HuffPost)

4. Ukraine war: EU plans Russian oil ban and war crimes sanctions (BBC)

5. How the oil and gas industry is trying to hold US public schools hostage (The Guardian

Read previous Briefs and more from independent media on the PCIM website and The Edge, and follow PCIM on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

The Indy Brief is edited by Jeremy Lovelett.